Signs of an aggressive dog?

Martoch

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#1
Hi guys..
:)

We have a lot of dogs in our neighborhood, and quite a few of them run free from time to time. With our kids playing outside a lot, this concerns me as I don't know whether or not the dogs are "friendly." I have personally been bitten by a dog that "didn't bite" as did our teenage son, so I normally don't buy into the "oh he won't bite you" line I get from most owners.

So...can you guys help me out here? What are signs we can look for to help us identify the aggressive from the non-agressive dogs? Is there even a distinguished difference? Normally I look for wagging tails as a sign of a dog being happy and friendly...true in most cases?

Thanks in advance...
Mike
 
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#2
Oh, gosh, Mike... that could be a tough one with no definitive answers. I'm thinking this first: If I dog approaches you, don't extend yourself to him... stand in your place and act confident that you're not afraid. Then extend your hand out for the dog to sniff the back of your hand, not your palm. Let the dog get your scent and don't back off. The dog should then back down from you and not act aggressive. Don't try to pet it. Just let it do it's smell and check you out then leave... that's my best guess...
 

Babyblue5290

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#3
A tail wag doesn't necisarily mean it's friendly. If it's wagging is slow and stiff it means don't go near it....it's trying to make it's self look bigger and probably is guarding something.
 

Martoch

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#4
Thanks for the quick replies.

What concerns me is that we live on an Air Force base here in FL, and when we call the security forces about stray dogs, they tell us to call PAWS (Panhandle Animal Welfare Society). When we call them, they tell us that they won't come out to get the dogs unless they've already bit someone or they're acting aggressive. To be quite honest, I'm not willing to take a chance on a dog being aggressive around my kids. I put myself between the kids and the stray dogs when I can, but sometimes it's just not possible. Today, for example, the kids were riding their bikes down the street as I watched and 2 big dogs came charging out of nowhere from behind the kids. I sprinted to the kids and yelled for them to ride as fast as they could to get away. Fortunately, the dogs heard other dogs barking and got distracted long enough for the kids to make it to me. However, I was just imagining what I would do if I saw a dog charging at one of the kids...I mean, is it going to bit them? Lick them? Sit and beg for food? How do I know??? Should I wait and see if they get a chunk taken out of them or run at the dog and give it a good swift kick/punch? I LOVE dogs, but they'll always come 2nd when it comes to humans.
 

filarotten

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#5
Some dogs chase bikes, cars anything that moves. If you see raised hair on a dog. It is in defense mode. Don't try to run and don't try to touch it. I would try to talk to the owners of the dogs, or someone in charge of the base and see if some typeof leash law could be enforced. Or, maybe a group of you could get together and go visit. It would have more effect on the person in charge.
 

Carolyn

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#6
What a bad situation, I feel for you and your family, and don't blame you one bit for being worried.

It's a bit irresponsible that the ones you complained too said simply call PAWS. I'm not sure about your neck of the woods but over here in Australia, there are strict rules about roaming dogs. Dogs are not to be roaming unleashed outside of their property at any time under any circumstances.

Of course there are still some roaming dogs due to stupid irresponsible owners, but since the law has cracked down it has helped immensely.

For example if that was my neighbourhood, we could ring the council right away at any time and report those dogs. If the owners couldn't be found they would be collected straight away, then its up to the owners and council to decide the next steps.

You shouldn't have to have you or your family feel unsafe because of these dogs. Roaming dogs have no place to be out like this. It puts them and the public at grave risk.

I really hope you and the kids are ok, and sincerely hope you have some good luck sorting this problem

Carolyn
 
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#7
Martoch said:
What concerns me is that we live on an Air Force base here in FL, and when we call the security forces about stray dogs, they tell us to call PAWS (Panhandle Animal Welfare Society). When we call them, they tell us that they won't come out to get the dogs unless they've already bit someone or they're acting aggressive. To be quite honest, I'm not willing to take a chance on a dog being aggressive around my kids. I put myself between the kids and the stray dogs when I can, but sometimes it's just not possible. Today, for example, the kids were riding their bikes down the street as I watched and 2 big dogs came charging out of nowhere from behind the kids. I sprinted to the kids and yelled for them to ride as fast as they could to get away. Fortunately, the dogs heard other dogs barking and got distracted long enough for the kids to make it to me. However, I was just imagining what I would do if I saw a dog charging at one of the kids...I mean, is it going to bit them? Lick them? Sit and beg for food? How do I know??? Should I wait and see if they get a chunk taken out of them or run at the dog and give it a good swift kick/punch? I LOVE dogs, but they'll always come 2nd when it comes to humans.
A dog who charges up to people or other dogs is behaving aggressively; physical contact is just the next level. Tell the animal control people that the dogs are behaving aggressively; if they press you for details, tell them the a pack of large dogs is chasing children on bicycles. Unfortunately, animal control officials are often idiots. If this is the case, research your community's laws - see if there's any kind of leash law and, if not, you might want to try to get that changed.
 

Athebeau

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#8
I highly recommend picking up a video called Dogs, Cats, & Kids: Learning to be safe with animals. created by Donald Manelli...check out animalbehaviorassociates.com to order a video.

This video shows children how to read cat and dog body language and the warning signs of threatening animals and most importantly, demonstrates what to do in case of a dog attack...which a child can understand.

It's too bad it's illegal for a child to carry dog mace with them...this would really come in handy in case of an attack.

The video will be a tremendous help, and it shows children how to act, what to watch for in a simple easy to understand manner. You may even want to lend the video to your childrens school to teach all the children.;)

Encourage your neighbors to file complaints. Follow up to make sure the police and/or animal control reports were filed and appropriate action taken. If you local animal control or police officers appear reluctant to help, make an appointment wiht your local district attorney; ask him or her for information on applicable state or local statutes and advice on gaining support from local officials.

When talking to animal control keep at them, don't let it drop. Be prepared to identify yourself; many agencies will not act on an anonymous complaints. Be specific in your information, It's even better if you have video coverage. Have animal control send you a copy of the local animal control ordinance.

If you aren't getting anywhere ask to speak to a supervisor, go up the ladder...If you reach the top of animal control and still havent gotten any resolution. Let administrators know that you're going public with your concerns. This may spur them into action. Sometimes a letter to the editor, a call or letter to a local television station can put pressure on a lazy or ineffective agency.

Good luck.
 
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oriondw

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#9
EliNHunter said:
Oh, gosh, Mike... that could be a tough one with no definitive answers. I'm thinking this first: If I dog approaches you, don't extend yourself to him... stand in your place and act confident that you're not afraid. Then extend your hand out for the dog to sniff the back of your hand, not your palm. Let the dog get your scent and don't back off. The dog should then back down from you and not act aggressive. Don't try to pet it. Just let it do it's smell and check you out then leave... that's my best guess...


Its almost impossible to fake to a dog that you're not afraid, when you are really scared, dogs know.
 

oriondw

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#10
Also reading further reply's, I wouldnt let kids ride bikes in the neighborhood.

Walking is fine in my opinion as most dogs are used to people walking and dont mind them, while at the same time alot of dogs will engage in prey drive when they see a bike, a running child, a skateboarder, etc. Which is very dangerous.
 

Amstaffer

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#11
First of all the obvious....Don't Run!

Your real question I think is "how do I know if this dog is going to bite me?"

That question is very difficult to answer because behavior leading up to a bit varies from breed to breed and from dog to dog.

Some dogs will only bite if you have you back turned, some dogs will bark and growl before biting.

Some breeds are big barkers and growlers (Herding for example) Bully breeds will sometimes make eye contact with you, evaluate you and then strike...no bark no growl.

General warning signs: Combination of the following can suggest a bite is possible but not always. Eye contact, Hair raised, Stiff back, Tail up and stiff, wide stance. Those are some real basic signs the dog means business. But I must warn you some dogs will give absolutely no warning the untrained eye will pick up.

Most Humane societies and shelters have a video they show their volunteers and employees about dog aggression. Go ask if you can see the video they most likely will let you sit in a room to watch it. Make sure to make a food or cash donation for their trouble!

Also, I would invest in some pepper spray for dogs that do show real aggression. Pepper Spray works well and will repulse the vast majority of attacks. Don't give the spray to your children (of course) because it can be dangerous.
 

moo

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#12
oriondw said:
Also reading further reply's, I wouldnt let kids ride bikes in the neighborhood.

Walking is fine in my opinion as most dogs are used to people walking and dont mind them, while at the same time alot of dogs will engage in prey drive when they see a bike, a running child, a skateboarder, etc. Which is very dangerous.
WHAT!!! :eek:
Tell the kids not to ride their bikes?!!!?? Why should they be punished for the people who let their huge dogs run free in the neighborhood. It is public property. Besides, we live on base and there is a leash law. Those dogs have no business being out to terrorize the kids when the boys are just out doing what kids do......and legally.
:confused:
Next you'll say not to even let the kids out of the house. Ridiculous!
 

oriondw

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moo said:
WHAT!!! :eek:
Tell the kids not to ride their bikes?!!!?? Why should they be punished for the people who let their huge dogs run free in the neighborhood. It is public property. Besides, we live on base and there is a leash law. Those dogs have no business being out to terrorize the kids when the boys are just out doing what kids do......and legally.
:confused:
Next you'll say not to even let the kids out of the house. Ridiculous!
Well, ok, if you want your kids to get mauled, let them ride the bikes...
:confused:
 
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#14
Make sure you never look a dog straight in the eyes - this is considered a threat.

I see both oriondw and moo's sides on letting the children ride bikes, scooters, etc.. Yes, it is unfair that the children can't ride their bikes and be safe, but not be able to go for a bike ride is better then being attacked by a loose dog.

I think you should call animal control. These dog owners need to restrain their dogs.
 

RD

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#15
For safety reasons I would not allow the kids to ride bikes. It's not their fault, but it's better to keep them safe than have them wind up being hurt by one of those dogs.
 

Martoch

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#17
The problem is that we live on a military base, so we can't just call the "dog catchers" to come pick up the loose dogs. We call security forces (the base police) and they always tell us to call PAWS (Panhandle Animal Welfare Society) because they handle the off-base calls and have a contract to do the same on base. However, they're about 15 minutes away from the base and will only respond if the dog is being aggressive or has already decided to bite someone.

Just last night, this guy shows up in our yard sniffing around...his tail was pretty stiff and was not wagging at all. We couldn't even take our puppy out for a potty break. He didn't seem too friendly and wasn't wearing a collar.


Our kids are going to ride their bikes...I'm going to pursue this loose dog issue up to the top if that's what it takes. If that doesn't work, I'll start rounding the dogs up myself and dropping them off at the kennel as suggested.
 

moo

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#19
Well, the kids were made to go home and one of the dogs DID attack our puppy. We called the owner and she wasn't even remotely apologetic. She said, "Sorry my dogs got loose." ........at the end. But, she never said sorry for her dog biting our puppy or our kids having to stay inside on a bright sunny warm Florida day because her dogs were running amuck in the streets. Next time there will be no phone call except to tell her to go get her crap dogs from the pound.
 

Amstaffer

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#20
I wouldn't let them dogs from letting me walk my dog :mad: Get some pepper spray and go out by yourself, if they come at you in an aggressive way....Check the wind and then let them have it. A couple of pepper sprays and those aggressive dogs will run when they see you.

If their not aggressive (most dogs are not) a Can air horn will usually chase them away.
 

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